Report: Magna considers using Opel to build cars for other brands

PSA Peugeot-Citroen and Ford have reportedly expressed interest in sourcing cars from Opel

PSA Peugeot-Citroen and Ford have reportedly expressed interest in sourcing cars from Opel

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Bidding for General Motors’ Opel division has intensified recently, with the German government revealing late last week that only two parties remain in the bidding war – Fiat and Magna International (together with Russia’s GAZ Group). While it’s been speculated that Fiat is considering using Opel designs for its recently acquired Chrysler, new reports are suggesting that Magna may use Opel as independent vehicle supplier for other carmakers.

According to Germany’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper, if Opel needed to reduce production of its own core models then any unused capacity could be used to manufacture vehicles for other carmakers. Inside sources close to Magna revealed that some of the possible third party carmakers include Ford and PSA Peugeot Citroen. The source went on to reveal that Magna has no plans to close any Opel factories in Germany, although it may shut plants in Antwerp, Belgium, and Luton, England.

Magna, together with Russia’s GAZ Group, is reportedly considering taking a 50% share in Opel. Under the alleged plan, Magna would purchase about 20% of Opel and GAZ would possibly combine with Russian banks to pick up another 30%.

Standing in the way of Magna’s deal is pressure from Fiat, which is seeking to integrate Opel into a new global auto giant consisting of a restructured Chrysler and Fiat’s respective auto units. Furthermore, GM reportedly favors a single bidder as opposed to a group - meaning Fiat's proposal would likely prove more attractive than a Magna/GAZ combo. Of course, GM must also consider not just the present, but also the future of Opel, especially since it will retain a substantial stake in the company.
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Comments (3)
  1. Fiat might just kill two birds with one stone here... using Opel designs to prop-up and maybe "europeanise" Chrysler is a very bad idea.
    You just can't change the very core histories of these auto manufacturers in one go.

  2. GM didn't have much luck selling Opels as Saturns. Would Fiat have any moe success branding them as Chryslers and Dodges? If Fiat is willing to badge their cute little 500 as a Chrysler they might have some success at restoring the reputation of the American brands and then add the Opels as a next step, but this is still a risky proposition.

    I'm still surprised the Fiat wants Chrysler. I think it makes a lot more sense for them to buy Saturn and Opel and use Saturn as their launching platform for Fiat cars in the USA. Saturn dealers have a much better reputation and the smaller Saturn dealer network would be easier to manage.

  3. Vauxhall has the same cars as Opel and for the past many years even the name is the same. So if you are implying that Vauxhall sucks then it means that Opel sucks. The only difference could be in dealer service.
    As for rebadging Vauxalls into Opels will not change much because people are not that stupid and they know they are basically the same cars. The only thing it would accomplish is to piss-off Vauxhall owners who would see their residual value crumble as their brand is extinguished.

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